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New Delhi : Union Health and Family Welfare, and Chemical and Fertilisers Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya on October 15, 2021,  virtually laid the foundation for the new building of ICMR School of Public Health at ICMR- National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) Ayappakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

The foundation stone laying ceremony was presided over by Prof Balram Bhargava, Padma Shri, Secretary of Department of Health Research and Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in the presence of Dr J Radhakrishnan, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Govt of Tamil Nadu.

This new building of ICMR School of Public Health will be the first step towards ICMR-NIE’s goal of training at least 150 mid-level public health professionals over the next three years. Special focus is being provided to the states with an inadequately trained workforce, according to a PIB release.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mandaviya said that the School of Public Health would boost the public workforce in the country. ICMR has been at the forefront and this step would further strengthen their efforts in ramping up the health Infrastructure in the country. Showcasing India’s achievements during this Covid -19 pandemic, Mandaviya further mentioned that indigenous capacity building, be it in human resources or vaccination, India has been ramping up health infrastructure rapidly and this has boosted India’s stature on a global level. Today, countries are seeking India’s vaccine and this should make us and our countrymen proud of our efforts.

Reiterating the crucial role played by the health professionals, Mandaviya noted, “The health workforce is the channel for delivering health interventions to the people. A critical mass of health professionals is necessary to manage the health system and is often a crucial limiting factor in the delivery of quality health services.” He further stated, “It is time for the country to develop a public health culture by creating a robust public health education system.”

ICMR-NIE : The new facility will support the ongoing public health capacity programmes of ICMR-NIE. The Institute has been conducting Field Epidemiology Training Programmes (FETPs) meant to strengthen the public health workforce in India since 2001. It has trained more than 300 public health professionals from 30 States/UTs in the country, including 90 from Tamil Nadu.

The FETP trainees from Indian public health systems learn public health skills by responding to public health emergencies such as disasters and outbreaks, evaluating how health programmes work, and doing epidemiologic studies to identify solutions to priority public health problems in their State. The institute conducts (1) Two-year India FETP leading to MPH (2) India Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS)- Southern Hub (3) FETP –Non-Communicable Diseases, and (4) Intermediate FETP – Non-Communicable Diseases.